Big Game Win Resonates Through Memorial





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For more photos from the Big Game, click here.

It wasn't the most amazing, sensational, heart-rending, exciting, thrilling finish in the history of college football.

Twenty years and three days after the Play made Big Game finishes famous, this one had been decided for a good couple of hours.

But when the sea of blue and gold flooded onto the Memorial Stadium field with 11 seconds left in the game, officially sealing Cal's 30-7 victory a little early, there was little to rival it for sheer catharsis.

There was the sellout crowd of 71,224, the biggest since the last Big Game victory in 1994, mobbing the Bears and especially the 24 seniors, trying desperately to reach the Axe that was making its way around the field.

There was Kyle Boller crowdsurfing, lifted up above the crowd, his status as a Cal legend suddenly assured.

There were Marcus Daniels, Tully Banta-Cain and Nnamdi Asomugha, all holding on to the trophy that had eluded them for four years.

"That was the most Calness I've felt in along time, seeing everyone happy and drunk, it was great," Banta-Cain said.

The onfield scene brought the team and the crowd together as much in the physical as the figurative sense in a veritable crush of humanity.

"I couldn't breathe, that's how it felt," defensive end Tom Canada said. "But it was so great. It's what you dream about playing college football."

The scene after the game made it crystal clear that this was about more than college football, and just how much seven years of delayed gratification can work itself into an entire community's consciousness.

The fans kept the party going, tearing down both goalposts and marching them down Bancroft and onto Sproul Plaza.

"History will remember us for this, people will remember that we brought the Axe back," Boller said. "My roommate (Cal soccer player Patrick Fisher) said it best after they beat Stanford earlier this year-'I can die peacefully now'."

Death or no death, we can all enjoy our night of revelry with a clearer conscience now.

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